Ponting mulls changes to bowling line-up
Ricky Ponting will consider making changes to his bowling attack for Thursday's must-win final Test in Nagpur after the visitors failed again to dismiss the hosts on the last day. India declared twice in the drawn third match in Delhi, posting 208 for 5 to follow their 613-7 in the first innings, and left Australia desperate to find ways to come back from a 0-1 deficit to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy.
"We've proven in this game that our batting's certainly up to scratch in these conditions," Ponting said. "The challenge ahead is to take 20 wickets in Nagpur. We've got to look long and hard at the guys on the sidelines - Doug Bollinger, Peter Siddle, and Jason Krejza - and see if we think they can add anything to our bowling group."
Siddle took four wickets in the second Test in Mohali, which Australia lost by 320 runs, while Bollinger is an uncapped left-arm fast bowler. Ponting said the offspinner Krejza would be looked at closely after missing out to legspinner Cameron White in Delhi. White, who has played three Tests, suffered some severe treatment from the Indian batsmen in the first innings, but captured the wicket of Sachin Tendulkar on the final day to return match figures of 1-96 off 23 overs.
"Jason was named in the 12 and, believe me, he came very close to playing in this Test," Ponting said. "So with a bit more work this week he'd certainly come into consideration."
Australia started well in the first session on Sunday by removing Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid, but it was a familiar story after lunch when the Indian batsmen controlled proceedings. In the first Test in Bangalore Australia failed to dismiss India on the final day and the lack of penetration has been a regular headache.
Ponting said his fast bowlers had improved since their displays in the first two games. "Our whole approach in the second innings was a whole lot better with our fast bowlers and that certainly paid dividends for us early on," he said. "But it's probably a little bit late to be doing it in the second innings when there's 600 on the board. We need to be utilising what we did in the second innings early on in the first innings and unsettling their batsmen as much as we can."
Ponting was pleased with Brett Lee's performance, despite him picking up overall figures of 3-167 from 47 overs. "Brett Lee's intensity through this game, and his pace, was a lot better," he said. "He hit the crease a lot harder so there are a lot of good signs for him." Lee managed just four wickets in the opening two matches in his first Test tour of India.
The fourth Test will be played at a new ground in Nagpur and Ponting expected the conditions to suit the home team. "I think they've probably got a curator on their side," he said, "who'll be probably helping them a bit more than he'll be helping us out."